On Tuesday, Aug. 29, students from Lipscomb University and Lipscomb Academy’s middle and high schools joined faculty, staff and administrators in Allen Arena to celebrate community and formally launch the 127th academic year at the 2017 President’s Convocation ceremony.
Among the morning festivities was a parade of flags to represent the diverse countries where Lipscomb’s student body hails from, faculty in academic regalia, music by student favorite Nashville Pipes and Drums, George Pendergrass and a surprise musical performance by students in the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts, as well as messages by David Scobey, chair of Lipscomb’s Board of Trustees; Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry, Debbie Scobey, member of the A.M. Burton Society; and Beth Breeden, associate professor and director of graduate studies in health care informatics.
“We are always blessed, but we are especially blessed by our 800 new students who have come from around the world to join this new community. We also welcome new faculty who have chosen this university, chosen your lives to influence and chosen this as a place to develop as scholars,” said President Lowry.
David Scobey, 13th chairman of the Board of Trustees and former president and CEO of AT&T Southeastern Region, welcomed the Lipscomb community and discussed the significance of embracing one another’s differences and coming together to embody Christ’s love.
“We are all from different cities, different states and different countries as represented by the flags. So how do we take all of these differences and make them into something powerful, something special and something holy that honors God,” said Scobey. “What is the characteristic to set a Christian community apart from the rest of the world: A community that models love to one another and models the difference that God makes when we are bound together by love. A community that doesn’t allow our differences to divide us but rather a community that loves in ways that only God’s people can love.”
George Pendergrass, musical artist, adjunct college professor and motivational speaker; and Lipscomb vocal students led the morning’s worship, before Debbie Scobey, wife of chairman David Scobey, read Ephesians 3:16-21.
Carson Panovec, president of Lipscomb University’s Student Government Association, led a prayer for the leadership of both Lipscomb and the United States, as well as that the families of Hurricane Harvey in Southeast Texas would be protected and experience Christ’s peace and love through their grief.
Beth Breeden, associate professor and director of graduate studies in health care informatics within the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences led the academic charge and encouraged the Lipscomb community to deepen their faith, to maintain good posture and to try difficult things as they embark upon opportunities ahead.
“You all have seeds of greatness inside of you; we have opportunities to succeed and we want to utilize those opportunities that are right in our grasp at this point,” said Breeden. And that doesn’t matter if you’re brand new or if you’ve been here for decades - we all have something to offer and something unique to give to this university.
“So faculty, we want to instill in students a sense of curiosity and a motivation to succeed. And students, I want you to dig deep to find that success within you to find those seeds of greatness and to let them grow.”
President Lowry returned to the stage to share his president’s remarks and honor David Scobey for his faithful service to Lipscomb as the 13th chairman of the Board of Trustees.
“David and Debbie Scobey have been woven into the life of this campus for a long, long time; deeply committed to what it means in the lives of students,” said Lowry. “They are committed to their family, to the church, to this institution and especially over the past six years and we are grateful. I cannot tell you how many trips they have made from Atlanta to Nashville, measure how many hours they’ve spent in meetings, the wisdom they have brought in special moments when we needed it.”
Lowry continued his remarks by sharing the unique ways Lipscomb’s students, faculty, staff and alumni are living out their faith.
“We need to continue to be the kind of community that deep into its DNA and deep into its faith, the world will see something related to the cross and the example of servant leadership that touches the world,” President Lowry said before introducing a surprise musical performance from students in the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts and the Presidential Ambassador Counsel who sang “You Will Be Found,” from the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen.
Featured soloists were Hatty King, a freshman musical theatre major and graduate of Lipscomb Academy who was just named one of the top four female musical theater performers in the nation at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, along with Nicole Chng, a freshman contemporary music major from Jakarta, Indonesia, who had the distinct honor of opening for Taylor Swift as part of her Red tour’s concert in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2014.
The ceremony concluded with a final worship song, prayer and declaration of the new 127th academic year.
Academy classes began on Aug. 16, with university classes beginning on Aug. 21.
- Photos by Kristi Jones